Thoughts, tests, and tricks about digital marketing, advertising, and analytics.

How GDPR Can Make Me a Better Marketer

· by Yigit Kocak · Read in about 5 min · (924 Words)
gdpr data privacy regulation

gdpr and big brother

GDPR

Data = power/money/time/[insert own values here]

Powerful companies are collecting, connecting, and centralizing data faster each second. We’re dumping tons of information trash on the web and businesses are racing to process them. Most users already knew, most didn’t care. People who are concerned don’t have many choices left but to quit from mainstream technology. Paying to opt-out is a NO either. Government branches and international regulators are too slow to protect human privacy against this rush and hopefully, things are going to change after May 25, 2018, with GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation).

I don’t know about organizations but I want to adapt to these changes and build a stronger core. It made me think that if I, as a digital marketer, should follow every trend and go along with the crowd I would be lost. Now, I have to seek the truth by going deep into my insecurities. I’ll expand on the insecurity part by giving an example of two hypothetical email marketing scenarios.

Before GDPR

I was greedy to collect any information that I could find about my customers and thought that too much wouldn’t hurt anybody. In fact, I was going to help customers and improve their experience much better with this pile of data. So, the more, the merrier. I’d go on with growing the email list, tightly segment users, test with a bunch of text, images, timing etc. to mathematically hack my way to improving the performance of my campaigns. Meanwhile, I’m looking good to managers/stakeholders :)

Base Stats

  • Email list: 1000 emails
  • Open rate: 20% (200)
  • Click rate: 3% (6)

After GDPR

I should let go of the useless data and only use which customers provided with consent. No more «we’re doing this for you» BS. Inactive emails should go. Users who want out should go. But my list is shrinking, oh-noo! I’m losing valuable data here! But wait, what was I doing with the extra data anyways? I wasn’t selling to brokers, nor transforming it to a revenue source. So I’m having a big, red, downward arrow on my campaign and my stakeholders are pissed.

Change Stats

  • Email list: 600 emails
  • Open rate: 28% (168)
  • Click rate: 3% (5)

Results

Datawise, the actual number of people who opened the email from the first scenario decreased by 32 people and action takers dropped down by 1 person. This doesn’t look so bad but it’s still a decrease. It’s time to let go of my inner child now and give attention to what matters after this.

Considerations

I’m back to understanding the basics, where aligning our product with prospects begins at. If I’ve put value on the wrong channels just because it was trendy, cheap, or too good to be true I should take a step back and think if it’s a good match. This where the importance of research comes in and the success of digital marketing campaigns rely heavily on this under-valued skill. You may think that it will be harder to do research with GDPR but it actually isn’t. These roadblocks help us be more creative and thoughtful of others’ privacy which in return helps us understand our prospects much better.

You might use many activation and lead capturing tactics out there that clouds our visions as marketers, but most of them don’t work. I know why they don’t work and it’s not because the signup button is red or green. It’s because of the value proposition. It usually sucks, isn’t clear, or doesn’t provide value at all. If the product isn’t good or the way we’re saying is bad, signing up millions of users don’t matter. Since I can’t change the core of the product, I have to re-evaluate lead generation methods. The simplest reminder for me is,

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. ~Confucius

Many of us don’t like to get interrupted even in the smallest things. Think about pop-ups, exit pop-ups, chat pop-ups or all that annoying stuff. So, I’m not going to use it just because some guy tells that it works on capturing leads. If 90% of my users are having difficulties finding the help page, it’s a UI problem. Not something that needs to be popped after 5 secs. of visiting. Does anybody like to be approached when they’ve just entered the store? Do you like to be followed from a distance while checking out a t-shirt? Don’t think so.

Which brings me to another kind of distraction. Too much content. I have to erase irrelevant, bad performing content or archive them to merge with future projects. But most importantly, I should open up my senses to what customers want from all our communication channels. Cut down the constant 1-way bombardments of self-advertising/masturbation and start asking constructive questions. Start caring for the people who have given their information. Listen to them without being creepy or pushy.

Final Thoughts

I’m wrapping this up in an unusual way because it may go to different paths. Some may say GDPR is bad/good but from my perspective, it helped me realize that customers are not a massive list of data that we can manipulate. They are people who have needs and emotions just like me and you. Though everyone in the world is focused on data, we should use it as a complementary function for creating a genuine relationship. Some strategies might fail due to less data but shutting our perceptions to our customers will make the final blow. Let’s be better communicators and listeners.

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